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Home > BUMPS: Best use of medicines in pregnancy - Morphine / Heroin.

UK Teratology Information Service. (2010) BUMPS: Best use of medicines in pregnancy - Morphine / Heroin. London: UK Teratology Information Service.


These factsheets have been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Public Health England on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy. 

Heroin (2010):

When a pregnant woman uses heroin, it enters her bloodstream and crosses the placenta to the baby. Heroin in the baby’s bloodstream reaches the baby’s heart, brain, and other organs, and has been shown to affect the breathing movements and heart rate of a baby in the womb. Taking too much heroin, or heroin that contains other drugs or substances, can result in poisoning or even death of mother and baby. 

Morphine (2016):

When deciding whether to use morphine during pregnancy it is important to weigh up how necessary morphine is to your health against any possible risks to you or your baby, some of which might depend on how many weeks pregnant you are. Unfortunately there is very little information on use of morphine in pregnancy, and about half of the information that is available is from a single small study of women with narcotic addiction who may have different health issues to women with chronic pain. 

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